Could the appearance of rare “sea serpents” washing ashore beaches in Southern California portend disaster?
The question comes following the discovery of the carcass of a rare 18-foot-long oarfish off the coast of Catalina Island on Oct. 13, followed by another snakelike 14-foot-long oarfish found on Oct. 18 in Oceanside.
Fishermen in Japan reported a sharp uptick in oarfish sightings in March 2010 following the massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile that same month, which marked almost exactly one year before the country was devastated by its own magnitude-8.9 quake in northeast Japan…
According to traditional Japanese lore, oarfish rise to the water’s surface and beach themselves to warn of an impending earthquake, a notion that some scientists have speculated could be supported by the bottom-dwelling fish being more sensitive to seismic shifts.
Or perhaps not.
Scientists, however, say there is no data to support an actual link between the two phenomena.
“It’s probably just a coincidence,” said Rick Feeney, who has been studying fish for almost 35 years for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
According to Feeney, four sightings have been reported since 2010 from the Central Coast southward, including in Malibu in 2010 and Lompoc in 2011.